Week one of the 2015 NFL season gets rolling on Thursday night, as the Pittsburgh Steelers head into Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots. While NFL fans – specifically Patriots and Steelers die hards – are loving tonight, it’s possible fantasy football nuts are loving it even more.
Not only do pro football games finally mean something again, but they also count toward our fantasy football leagues or DFS games. One way or another, we could be in for some cash winning this week, and for a lot of leagues and GPP games, it starts tonight.
By now, you know which guys to start for the most part. The likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown are locked and loaded and you’re starting them no matter what. But what about the guys to avoid? Whether just picking a better option on your bench or skipping over certain guys for better plays in DFS fantasy leagues, there are options tonight better left alone.
Let’s break each one down:
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’Veon Bell is suspended, so hopefully we don’t have to tell you not to use him this week (or next week), but that doesn’t mean D-Will is a fantasy commodity. He’s old and he’s lost some of the long ball, while the Steelers may not just hand the keys of the backfield to him fully. Pittsburgh is likely going to have to take it to the air in this one a lot, while Williams rarely was a fantasy fiend his last few years in Carolina. He’s not the worst Flex try in the world, but I’m really not expecting much.
All Patriots Running Backs
Jonas Gray got cut, so that tells you how much we know in regards to the Pats and their running backs. Brandon Bolden is tentatively expected to start week one as New England’s early down back (LeGarrette Blount is serving a one-game ban, so don’t use him, either), but James White, Dion Lewis and Travaris Cadet could all factor in. That means you have four Patriots running backs to worry about in a game where New England will probably tear up the field via Tom Brady’s rising anger. Lewis is the only guy I like even a little bit due to his PPR value as the proposed third down back, but we have no clue what New England is going to do. Refrain from using their running backs on Thursday night.
Brandon LaFell and Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots
Brandon LaFell is on the PUP list with a bum foot. He’s obviously out, so know that. Pass over him in DFS leagues and he’s safe to drop in season long leagues. That could open the door up for someone like Danny Amendola to see extra targets, and some of you might get really crafty and think Aaron Dobson will blow up. TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT, and all that jazz.
Doubtful. Dobson is a walking injury risk and really only provides the deep ball in spurts. He could play tonight and the matchup is great, but he’s just not a guy you can trust. If he plays and goes off for 122 yards and 2 scores, yell at me later. For now, give him the hard fade, all around.
Scott Chandler, TE, New England Patriots
People always talk up the backup patriots tight ends. Remember the days of Jake Ballard, Zach Sudfeld, Tim Wright and Michael Somethingorother? Yeah. Chandler is probably the first one that could make sense as a viable source, but he wasn’t even a stud in his days in Buffalo as a starter. He’s a desperation play in any world.
Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Sammie Coates, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Wheaton might be just ahead of the likes of D-Will, Bolden and Dion Lewis as somewhat playable fantasy options on this list. He’s still not getting much love from me. Hes a speedy receiver who can hit big plays from time to time, but he struggled in a starting role last year. Martavis Bryant is out, so he’s sure to crush, you say? Not really. Before Bryant took over in beastly fashion last year, Wheaton was quite the disappointment. I know what he’s capable of on the high-end of things, but he also could easily bust. I’d rather use someone a little more reliable.
DHB can still run but he has hands of stone, while rookie Sammie Coates is actually behind him somehow. You can’t use either of these guys.
Steelers and Patriots Team Defenses
New England could actually stifle the Steelers tonight. They’re at home and the Steelers are without Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant and Maurkice Pouncey. Seriously, that’s a bad trio to be without. Even so, Pittsburgh can blow up rather easily so I’m not using New England to start 2015. And if I’m not using the Pats, I’m damn sure not using the Steelers.
If you’re trying anyone in tonight’s game that is on the fance, it’s Dion Lewis, D-Will and Markus Wheaton. They at least have roles and have some upside to them. That being said, I don’t love them in this game.